Monday, June 9, 2008

Info on funds to NGOs to be made public

Government funds granted to NGOs and other outside agencies will now be brought under the public scanner. This follows a direction from none other than the Prime Minister’s Office, which has instructed all social sector ministries to compulsorily place in the public domain all information on grants provided to NGOs.

Such data will now have to be made public on India Portal, a special web interface created by the National informatics Centre to improve transparency in government functioning. Not just that, the ministries will now also have to provide this interface to entertain NGOs’ applications for accessing of grants from them.

To begin with, these guidelines have been issued to the ministries of social justice and empowerment, culture, human resource development, health, women and child development, National Aids Control Organisation and CAPART, a major NGO funding organisation.

“This is only the beginning and after watching the results, this will be made compulsory for all departments with those grants,” the guidelines add. The move aims to cleanse the social sector, where accessing and grant of government funds does not happen in a very transparent atmosphere. The idea is to break the culture of secrecy, sources say, referring to another major guideline that directs that all applications from this financial year for the above ministries and CAPART will compulsorily be available on the web interface along with the details of grants provided.

In the meantime, the paper application route will also continue to be available so that no technological or linguistic barriers are created while transacting with the government. The guidelines, however, mandate that all information on applications received through the paper route also be made available by the ministry concerned on the web-enabled interface. The system will work simply.

Every civil society organisation will be automatically assigned a unique identification number by the NIC software application upon particulars being registered with the portal database. Further, each application will also be automatically assigned a unique reference number that must be cited in all future correspondence, processing and approvals. “In case of information received through paper route, the ministry will itself enter the said information into the database and communicate to the NGO concerned their identification and application reference numbers.

The ministries will further have to indicate these numbers on the sanction orders and financial approvals issued by them,” the guidelines clarify. An inter-ministerial coordination group comprising nodal officers from each of the above-mentioned five ministries will be set up to ensure that information is captured on line from NGOs as well as ministries at each stage.

Source: http://www.lakesparadise.com/readnews.php?id=31798

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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